Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eating at the Workplace

Eating Out at Work

I didn’t get a chance to get groceries on my designated grocery day this week. So I hardly have any food at home, which I usually bring to work everyday to save money and to make sure I’m eating somewhat healthy. I’ve decided to take this opportunity to do an experiment:

How frugal can I be, eating out during my 10 hour work day?

Here are some conditions pre-set in place:

*I’m gluten intolerant, so this is going to be even harder for me to find food I can eat. It’s easy to get a cheap meal from Mickey D’s for most people, but you also sacrifice health! I think in ANY food take-out, you’ll most likely be sacrificing some healthy aspect, but I’ll try my best.

*At home I have cream of buckwheat or millet and agave syrup for a quick breakfast, so it’ll tide me over till I get to work. I also still have a bag of tangerines that I’ll be bringing to work or eating at home for a snack.

*The week that follows this, I’m going to keep track of how much I spend on buying groceries and preparing them for food at work to compare how much time, healthy eating, and money I’ve spent on both methods of fueling my body.

Okay, let’s start this 4-day experiment!

Eating Out Without a Plan


I spent 9.62 on corn tortillas and some Mexican platter from next door at work. I was hoping I could stretch it and make more than one meal out of this. It did – somewhat – but it only lasted one day’s worth. I also spent 3.19 on a McFlurry. I needed my ice cream fix – I hadn’t had any for weeks! I knew I splurged on the ice cream, but I knew it’d be the last ice treat I’d give myself. Still, though, I spent a hefty bit of money for one day. Tonight as I go to bed, I shall strategize….

TOTAL: $12.81


I went to Publix grocery store this morning before work. I got:
-celery (I had peanut butter at work)
-cheese spread (I had gluten free crackers at work too)
-a small salad
-gluten free frozen enchilada
-box of wheat-free oat bars (oats are ok for me, as long as I eat sparingly)

TOTAL: 14.05

It only saves me that I had a couple of things at work waiting for me just for occasions like this when I’m desperate for something in my tummy. Today I ate the enchiladas, half the cracker box, the small salad and a couple of oat bars. So I should I have enough for tomorrow without having to buy anything. See, even grocery shopping for easy-to-make or ready-made meals/snacks is cheaper than eating out, whether you’re on a gluten-free diet or not! So… hopefully tomorrow I’ll have enough snacks to get me through the day. We’ll seeeeee!!!!


I ate most of what I bought from the grocery store the day before. Yes! Though… it wasn’t really good I WANTED to eat, and it was mostly snacking, as opposed to having meals. Not that I mind snacking… it was just slightly limiting and unsatisfying, but it did the job – filled my stomach and fueled my body.

TOTAL: $0.00


I bought an Amy’s gluten free enchilada frozen meal, and sweet potato pancakes today. I was FULL!

TOTAL: approximately $7


On average, I spent 8.46 per day. That’s a little high… but it wasn’t AS bad as I thought it’d be, thanks to Return to Eden, a great health food store, and Publix. I would have spent a lot more if those stores weren’t so close by my work. Plus, I was also blessed with already having a few items on hand. So technically, I spent a little more. Also… going to the grocery stores might’ve been cheating. But really – it’s almost impossible to eat out everyday decently when you’re gluten-free, and all there are around are fast food joints. Let’s see how next week fares with buying groceries and preparing my own food.


I went to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market, the cheapest yet most quality grocery shopping I have found in Atlanta. Without that pesky middle man and clever (yet ethical) businessmanship, the DFM is AWWWWWESOME!!!!! Or, as my Southern fiancé would say, “OHsome!” Everything, from the dairy and meats, to the seafood to the breads and produce… everything is fresh, and they make much of their own products, such as fresh-roasted coffee, freshly ground peanut or cashew butter, all baked goods are made there, etc. etc. They even have a little cafeteria. Anyway, with the high quality of food and the very low prices, it’s totally worth the trip over there every week. Sometimes it’s hard to get over there with my hectic schedule, but I try my best!

So… for this work week I got…

Kamut bread 2.99
Earth Balance Buttery Spread 3.49
Tomatoes .97 (yes, three whole tomatoes for under a dollar! The secret? Buy their pre-bagged produce!)
Cucumbers 1.29
½ lb. Deli Turkey Meat 2.39
Sliced Muenster Cheese 2.17
Sliced Pepper Jack Cheese 1.81
Roasted Red Peppers 1.69
Blackberries 1.29 (yes, that’s cheap for berries! The secret? Buy fruits IN PEAK SEASON!)
Dozen Free-range Eggs 2.39

TOTAL: 20.48


Divided over a four-day, 10-hour work week, that’s an average of 5.12 per day. But WAIT! I still have half a loaf of bread and half of my deli stuff left, and other small items left! So let’s readjust… Okay the more accurate total is… $2.07 per day!!!! WOWWWWWWWW! Plus, I’ve still got plenty to get me through the rest of the week on this humble grocery list. Yayyyy! I might even have some money left to treat myself (in moderation, of course) to some ICE CREAM!!! Yayyyy!!! :D

See? It really helps to meal plan and grocery shop for your work week food. Eating out sucks the wallet thickness outta ya, bleh!

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